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The Poop on Potty Talk

J.P. Lempriere's grandma recently asked him which flavor of ice cream he'd like with his apple pie. His reply: "Poop ice cream!" His mom, Helen, of Seattle didn't know whether to laugh or ask J.P., 4, to leave the table.

It can be mortifying  -- and, okay, funny  -- when your child starts spewing potty language. It's normal, too. Preschoolers' vocabularies are getting larger, and they know that saying "ca ca" and "doodyhead" will grab your coveted attention.

Try not to overreact by laughing or yelling. Instead, explain that words like "pee" and "poop" should only be used in the bathroom  -- not at the table, at school, or in public. If the potty talk continues, ignore it for a day or two to give him a chance to stop; if he doesn't, it's fine to call on a disciplinary tactic like a time-out.

On the plus side, most 3-year-olds have enough self-control to stop themselves from misbehaving, and they're testing out what's okay to do and what's not  -- making this a great teaching moment.